By Japhet Alakam
Abduction or kidnapping is one of the vices that has changed the story of many individuals and families as most of them do not live to tell the stories, while many who survive do it at the a great cost. But, one unfortunate thing about it is that many of them do not tell the stories and that was why the main hall of the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island was filled to the brim as top government officials, friends, colleagues and family members converged for the public presentation of a new book, Abduction Chronicles, written by Folarin Banigbe and the launch of the Abduction Chronicles platform in Lagos. Abduction Chronicles is a gripping account of Folarin’s many close shaves with death, with striking details of his journey to and from the abyss.
It was an event that was filled with emotions as most of the speakers recounted how they or their loved ones had been abducted at one time or the other and the pains and trauma associated with it. But, majority of them also blamed the government for creating the environment that made the kidnappers see it as veritable business.
In his remarks, Mr Babasola Feibo who commended the author for breaking the culture of silence that has contributed to the menace of abduction said the journey started two years ago. He described the book as a story of hope and obedience, pointing out that most people who go through it do not say anything but that Fanigbe has decided to break the jinx with the publication of the book.
According to him, “it is about the experiences and role of God in his survival, change of perspective and the need to help us reconsider the whole issue and thereby reconcile the whole issue.”
On his part, the father of the author, Oba Banigbe who confessed that he was happy to be part of the occasion stated, “if he was not found, there would not have been any need to be here.” About the book, he said the book taught us so many things about how to comport oneself, live and rise to occasion.
In his contribution, the keynote speaker, Yinka Ogunnubi who traced the origin of kidnapping to the 15th Century era of slavery and how it has transformed to become a lucrative business said, “the essence of the gathering was to drop ideas in your mind to see how we can find solution to human race.” He pointed out that business of kidnapping is carried out in chains and that they are normal people who go out like any other person, go to churches, write WAEC etc.
According to him, there are economical and political dimensions to it and that is what makes it look like a normal thing to them. But the ugly thing is the trauma the victims were forced to go through, hence the need to support them to recover and at the same time, look at the issue holistically so as to create a favourable environment that will make the kidnappers not to see it as a means of survival.
Also speaking, Dr John Dara, a Presidential Aspirant of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, called on Nigerians to build a humane society to achieve the desired socio-political change in the country.
According to him, morality and humanity in nation- building has always been a challenge in Nigeria and called for holistic and systematic approach toward creating a secure society.
“If you want to deal with security, you must understand the cause of insecurity. You must understand why people rationalise crime,” he said.
Dara said the solution was to have continuous law review and legislation that would impact on security system, effective social mobilisation for citizens’ participation, solidarity and vigilance. Unveiling the book, Mr Toyin Ayinde, former Lagos State Commissioner for Urban and Regional Planning described kidnappers as people pursuing their good intentions in a wrong way. He charged Nigerians to have value for human beings in order to rebuild the nation.
The author, Folarin Fanigbe who thanked the audience for honouring him, recounted how the incident happened two years ago and why he decided to write the book after initial refusal. He stated that after the incident, he learnt a lot of lessons which needed to be shared. “I learnt that there is need to help ourselves and that is why I introduced the Abduction Platform to help the victims. I also discovered that the criminals have their own valid reasons for doing so and that most of them are victims of the society. So there is need to have a discourse on what will make a normal being decide to pick his fellow being for money.
“We need to help the nation rediscover itself. The society has lost humanity, we don’t regard human lives anymore. From my experience, I later found out that most of the people in crime are victims of the environment that brought them out. We have to start the discussion to a point where we will have value for human life.
“The book contains graphic details of my experience, it also contains my perspective and what I found out. When you read the book, you will understand why the story has to be told, it’s not about the money lost, but the pains and trauma. It is aimed at finding lasting solutions to abduction and other crimes committed by Nigerians against Nigerians.
Continuing, Fanigbe said: “The Abduction Chronicles platform is created to help abductees tell their stories; find a supportive community; find closures and the psychological help needed to deal with the trauma.
“This platform will foster a community that has the responsibility of care for victims of kidnapping and other forms of abductions and instances where people are forced to act against their will,” he added.